It seems to me that pro golf caddies have one of the best jobs in the world. They get to be on the beautiful golf course and carry around golf clubs for the best players in the world. However, golf caddies have a lot of responsibility as they are their coach, mentor, inspirator, and course analyst.
PGA Tour golfers put a lot of faith in the caddies they hire, so the best golf caddies are paid well.
But how much does a caddy actually make?
How Much Do PGA Golf Caddies Make?
On average, PGA Tour caddies make a base salary of $1,500-$3,000 per tournament, plus a percentage of winnings (if the golfer makes the cut)–10% for a win, 7% for a top-ten finish, and 5% for everything else. While this is typical, caddie’s salaries are often negotiated with the golfer.
There’s a big difference between a professional caddy and a part-time country club caddy. There’s also a wide range of how much PGA tour caddies make, especially those on the bag for the top 5 players in the world.
What a Former PGA Caddy Has to Say
Every caddie’s salary is negotiated with the golfer, but 10% of the winning purse is standard practice. A caddy is paid a small base salary, but most of their earnings are determined by how the golfer performs at each tournament. Caddies are responsible for their expenses, including travel, food, and lodging. Former caddy turned ESPN analyst Michael Collins talked about how much caddies make on Chris Long’s Green Light podcast.
“So, the way that the pay works. People always think it’s 10% across the board, but that’s not how it works,” Collins said. “So, caddies get a regular weekly paycheck because caddies have to pay for all of their own expenses, airfare, hotel, rental car, food, that’s all on the caddy. So, they get a weekly paycheck from the player, and then you get a percentage of what the player wins if they make the cut. And it’s normally, the base is 10% for a win, 7% for a top-ten, and 5% for everything else. But, that number is negotiated between every player and caddy. There’s no such thing as a contract between player and caddy.”
“You can also say, okay, look, let me have, instead of $1,500 a week, let me have $2,500 a week, and only pay me 7% across the board,” Collins added. “So, 7% no matter what we win. But like, this week [2021 Masters], the player who wins is going to win probably $1.8 million, $1.7 million, so the caddie’s going to make $170,000 to $180,000 plus their weekly pay.”
Not All Pro Caddy Salaries Are Made Equal
Not all tour caddy salaries are made equal, however. Depending on who a caddy is on the bag for, the compensation range is vast. In 2019, Fed Ex Cup winner Rory Mcllroy’s caddy, Hairy Diamond, made $1.5 million. He earned a $1 million payout on the FedEx cup bonus alone!
The 150th place in the 2019 FedEx standings went to Johnson Wagner, earning $667,792. Wagner’s caddy would have earned a total annual salary of $100,000 ($50,000 base + $50,000 commission).
Breaking Down a Professional, PGA Tour Golf Caddy Salary
At the amateur level, a caddy might be someone who carries your golf gear and expects a little tip. However, at the PGA tour level, golf caddies perform much more significant roles than that. Professional golf players and their caddies work hand in hand.
A caddy is a highly esteemed person that contributes immensely to the success of a golfer. The amount of money a golf caddie makes depends on what the golfer makes. Typically, the earnings of golf caddy vary, as shown below.
- Base salary of about $1,500 to $3,000 per tournament on the PGA Tour to cover expenses, including travel to tournament locations.
- If the golfer wins the tournament, the caddy gets an additional 10% of the earnings.
- If the golfer finishes in the top-ten in an event, the golf caddy gets an additional 7% of the earnings.
- If the golfer finishes outside top-ten in an event, the golf caddy gets an additional 5% of the earnings.
Professional golfers and their caddies have an independent deal. The PGA tour does not have any set of regulations to guide what caddies get paid. Professional golfers are responsible for hiring their caddies. Their agreement could either be in writing or verbal in case any form of dispute comes up.
Being a caddy also has its risks and uncertainties. A caddy could get fired if he’s not doing his job well. Caddies also pay for their expenses throughout the tour. This includes tournament accommodations, healthcare, and travel expenses.
However, this is not to say being a caddy is an entirely insecure career. Caddies have created an organization. This organization is formally known as the Association of Professional Tour Caddies. They help caddies to get more money from various appearances. In addition, they help improve the working condition of caddies by giving discounts on travel expenses and healthcare insurance.
How Much Do Amatuer Caddies Make at a Private Country Club?
Not every caddy is on the professional tour. Many country clubs have caddies for their members. Being a caddy can be a great part-time gig, especially for summer college students.
So how much do amateur caddies make? Average caddies at a private country club make $20-$28 per hour, or between $100 – $140 for an 18-hole round of golf, or a “loop,” which is roughly a 5-hour shift. This typically includes a flat fee paid by the club, plus tips from the player(s). This pay will vary depending on the club you work and the number of players/bags you carry.
Caddies working at an average country club can expect to make the following, broken down into two forms of payment:
- Flat fee from the country club: A country club will pay between $15-$45 per loop, depending on your experience.
- Gratuity from players: Typically you’ll carry 1 or 2 bags, at an average of $25 per bag
Each loop (18-hold round) will take an average of 4 hours to complete. You’ll typically show up 45 minutes before a tee-time, and there’s some wrap-up after a round. So one shift is about 5 hours. Some caddies pick up an extra loop and can make double pay for that day.
This means for an average experienced caddy carrying two bags, expect to make around $120 for 5 hours of work. At higher-end private country clubs or resorts, you can make anywhere from $100-$300 per loop.
What Do Caddies Do?
On the PGA Tour, golf caddies can be instrumental to a player’s success and hence have many responsibilities. While the stakes may not be as high, Amateur caddies still perform most of the same tasks. A caddy is a caddy, after all. Here’s what a caddy does.
- Wipes clubs and golf balls with a towel for their player after every shot.
- Rake sand traps and bunkers after a player’s shot.
- Provide expert knowledge of the golf course, including yardage and green readings.
- Fix divots after golfer’s swing and displace chunks of grass from the ground.
- Fix ball marks after a ball lands on the green.
- Tending to the pin, pulling it out and replacing after a hole is complete.
- Assistance with locating errant shots
It’s a great job with many perks, whether a professional caddy for a top PGA Tour player or a part-time caddy at a local private country club. The pay is pretty good, especially for a college student trying to earn some extra money. Plus, you get to work in the sunshine on the world’s best golf courses. If I could go back in time, I probably would have been a caddy for a summer. But, heck, it could pay dividends just in the relationships you can establish.